Article Written by Craig Borden (@Craigers1221)
Success is a fickle beast. It can bring you all the confidence in the world or it can be the reason you press by feeling you should be performing at that level all of the time. This is very important for young athletes to experience before it makes or breaks them at the Major League Level. When I see players that have performed well throughout Minor League Baseball and then finally hit a challenge, I do not panic. I preach patience in these moments and feel that this is the reason we have the Minor Leagues in the first place. It is meant to prepare athletes to become everyday players. Not all players are Mike Trout or Bryce Harper that do not seem to go through extended rough patches.
This is where I take a look at how Bo Bichette has been performing this season. Many baseball people are saying he is off to a slow start. I agree that when you look at his numbers from last season this could be true. Just to state this for the record - he is not having a bad season; he is just not batting .400 like he did this past year in the Midwest League where he was named the season MVP as a member of the Lansing Lugnuts. Through 32 games, he is figuring things out and batting a respectable .276 with 27 runs scored and 11 RBI. He has been a key part of this potent attack for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and has poked 4 triples, 9 doubles, and stole 9 bases. How is this a slow start to his 2018 campaign?
Once again, I agree that it is off pace from his 70 games with the Lugnuts to start last season where he proceeded to decimate the pitching of the Midwest League to the tune of a .378 batting average with 32 doubles, 3 triples, 10 homers, and 51 RBI’s. He is about halfway there in games played compared to those numbers from last season, but he is on average 4 years younger than most of the players around him in the Double-A Eastern League. With that fact being stated, it can put some of this into perspective. He is learning how to play this game at a high level. Bichette is performing well, just not as outlandishly well as last season where he was closer to the league average age.
I personally do not care what certain “Baseball Professional Minds” are saying about Bichette in general. He is finally being challenged on a high level and this will only help him grow as a player. If everything came easy to you in life, this writer would call that pretty boring. Bichette is playing well and will continue to improve as he becomes more immersed in Double-A. Not everyone is a freak of nature like Ronald Acuna Jr. or Bo’s partner in crime - Vlad Guerrero Jr. These two have clearly found their calling where some players have to work a little harder to get to the same place.
Calling back to the issue I mentioned earlier with success and how it can make or break players, I have seen it over and over again. Players in the Minor League systems get put on the fast track to the Majors after having a streak where they just set their level on fire. Of course there are exceptions to this, but I think Blue Jays fans have seen this enough times. I think the story of Eric Thames is a microcosm of this entire situation I am trying to point out. Thames was a star in the Blue Jays system and really stood out with his performances. However, he was rushed to the Majors and struggled. It was so rough for him that he literally left the country and found his stroke in Korea before coming back to be a success for the Brewers.
I think players need that challenge to find out what they're made of. I would much rather see them hit that road block in the Minor Leagues where they are not under as much stress than they would be on the MLB level. I think Bo Bichette is entrenched as the team's number 2 prospect with his overwhelming talent. He has all five tools that will make any Major League General Manager salivate. He is going to be a great player and this writer will preach patience and let Bichette get in his reps to become the player that we all seem to know he can be.
It takes time to evolve into something special.
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